Travel industry takes a beating

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Some of you with travel plans may be concerned, wondering whether you should change an upcoming trip. Tuesday afternoon Carnival Cruise Lines, suspended all stops in Mexico. Because it is so close that country is a hot vacation spot for many East Texans.

Some travelers say there's one destination they're avoiding.

"I probably wouldn't go to Mexico right now," said Cheryl Jansen.

"Everybody's very cautious about it where we live at, even in New York," said Gary Sumter. People [are] wearing masks. We're being very alert about it."

Tuesday afternoon ABC News reports showed that the swine flu had spread to every state in Mexico, and the Centers for Disease Control recommended U.S. travelers avoid all nonessential travel to that country.

"The key word in there is non essential travel,' said travel agent Sharon Howell. "If you do not have to travel to Mexico City right now, obviously it's not a good time to go."

Travel agents like Howell are postponing trips for clients. She says airlines are accommodating. Not charging fees if you change now through May 6th.

"They're waving the change penalties and allowing people to change," said Howell. "Many of our suppliers like FunJet Vacations, Gogo Vacations [and] Apple Vacations, they're allowing people to change as well without any cancellation fees or additional charges."

Doctors say epidemics like this can last four to eight weeks, but Howell urges East Texans not to panic or change your summer vacation plans.

"People do not need to sacrifice the thought of their vacation and right now they have a great opportunity because there's a lot of hotel space open and air seats open," she explained. "I wouldn't hesitate to go tomorrow. It's not uncommon that when people travel that they come in contact with a flu-like virus, a cold virus. We're not trying to minimize what's going on but we're saying keep it in proper perspective."

Everyone's just hoping it gets under control before the peak of the summer.

"Hopefully it'll eradicate itself and we'll get back to that normal life that we love," said Sumter.

Medical officials in Europe are suspending non-essential travel to Mexico, and Cuba has suspended all flights in and out of Mexico for the next 48 hours.

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